Leon CychLeon Cych: important videosOpen Source Schools (OSS), the organisation funded by government ICT agency Becta, had its first public airing this week with its “Unconference” at the National College for School Leadership in Nottingham. It was a fitting venue.

The healthy turnout of primary and secondary teachers, ICT advisers, and those working in capital projects and national agencies showed a wide range of interest and potential. It signalled readiness for some ramped-up national leadership backing to start exerting some real influence on behalf of schools. At a time when market analysts forecast at least a 4 per cent cut in education funding, open source obviously has a lot to offer - some carefully monitored pilots at the very least.

Julian Joseph and Richard Michael lead improvisationJulian Joseph and Richard Michael lead improvisationHere’s one for music teachers and their students. Yamaha, provider of some of the coolest music technology, is running a jazz improvisation competition which commences this autumn.

Entry is free and prizes include gigs at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and at Ronnie Scott’s and The 606, two of London’s most prestigious jazz venues. Yamaha will also be providing prizes for schools and community centres involved.

There's a powerful and pervasive TV stereotype of burnt-out 'special crimes' investigators. But nothing could be further from the persona of ex-cop Andrea Bradley. Smart, positive and highly motivated, she's more than happy to put the investigatory and digital forensic expertise developed over 13 years with Greater Manchester Police to the service of protecting children and developing e-safety.

Now a director with E-Safe Education, she's the kind of person you take seriously when she warns that "approximately 10 per cent of harmful multimedia content on school computers remains undetected by systems relying on keyword or phrase-based monitoring to protect children".

The Open University is recruiting to fill the 18 jobs that have been created thanks to its successful bid to run the Government’s programme of ICT training courses for teachers in schools (including special schools) and sixth-form colleges in England.

The initiative is worth £6.5 million to the OU and its partner, e-skills UK. It has been created to “support a step change in the quality of ICT teaching in English schools” according to the OU recruitment advertisement for staff for the nine new regional training centres.

Sarah Neild and Tim RylandsSarah Neild and Tim RylandsAgent4change.net visitors can get an extra 10 per cent discount on top of the £100-off plus iPod Touch incentives for early-bird registration for Handheld Learning 2009 (valid until July 30). Just register online using the code "merlinhhl09".

John Davitt, Sir Tim Brighouse and Tim Rylands will head the significant home-grown inspiration at this year's event (Malcolm McLaren headlines as "agent provocateur"). And international presenters include James Paul Gee, and Professor Elizabeth Hayes, both from Arizona State University, David Cavallo, a leading light behind the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project, and Gordon Shukwit, Apple's director of IT and learning technologies.